Unique partnership aims to fulfill state-wide tech education teacher shortage

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) A shortage of teachers in North Central Wisconsin's K-12 schools has prompted a Wisconsin university and technical college to try and help fill in the gaps.

North Central Technical College and Marian University of Wisconsin will offer NTC students a co-enrollment program. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be qualified to teach technology education to students. This program is the first of its kind in the state.

The collaboration enables graduates holding associate degrees in technology from NTC to crossover and use Marian University of Wisconsin's education program to gain the teaching aspect. The thing that makes this partnership unique is that students can stay on the NTC campus throughout their studies, effectively keeping and encouraging them to stay in North Central Wisconsin.

According to the Executive Vice President of Student Affairs with North Central Technical College Jeannie Worden, 80% of NTC grads stay in the area which is another reason why she expects this program will make a significant impact specifically on Wisconsin's north central k-12 schools.

"We are here to serve our communities. We're here to serve our learners, so we want to make sure we are producing students that are going out into the workforce and are able to advance our communities" Worden said.

As the technology sector continues to show no signs of slowing down in business and in education, Worden and other educators realized the shortage of technology education teachers became an issue that could no be ignored any longer.

"We reached out to our district schools and they said this is something they need" Worden said.

The partnership and official signing will take place on the NTC campus. More than 30 school representatives plan to be there. You can find a list of the participating schools below:

Prentice School District
School District of Abbotsford
Wausau School District
D.C. Everest School District
Bowler School District
Northland Lutheran
Rib Lake School District
School District of Spencer
Merrill Area Public Schools
School District of Loyal
School District of Athens
Marathon School District
White Lake School District
Mosinee School District
Phillips School District
Unified School District of Antigo.

Research by the U.S. Department of Education indicates the state of Wisconsin has had a shortage of teachers in technology education since 2004. You can find the full report here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/pol/tsa.pdf